Priest tells anti-Trump protesters to commit suicide
By Caroll Alvarado and Billie Shears January 30, 2017
Modal Trigger Priest tells anti-Trump protesters to commit suicide
Rev. Philip Pizzo Facebook
The pastor of a largely immigrant Catholic church in Queens has a
suggestion for his anti-Trump parishioners: Go take a flying leap
off the nearest building.
“Show your hate for Trump. Do it for social justice. #JumpAgainstTrump,”
read a meme posted by the Rev. Philip Pizzo just hours after he
celebrated Sunday Mass.
The message included an illustration of a man plummeting from a skyscraper.
The conservative priest, who oversees St. Benedict Joseph Labre Roman Catholic
Church in Richmond Hill, previously posted a photo of President Obama with the
words “He’s not my president’’ and another snapshot of Hillary Clinton titled
“Ugly Face’’ in Italian along with “Happy Halloween.’’
Pizzo, 67, told The Post on Monday that he just thought the “Jump Against Trump’’
meme was “funny.”
“I do not promote suicide,’’ Pizzo insisted. “I’ve helped many people over the years,
and it does not promote suicide. It was funny.”
But some parishioners were outraged.
“Suicide is not funny, plain and simple,” said Carlos Coburn, a congregant who once
sought counseling from Pizzo because he was struggling with thoughts about killing himself.
Coburn said he has attended the church for 20 years but will start worshiping elsewhere, given the
“It’s disturbing for someone in my situation,’’ Coburn said. “I know this man, he baptized me, and I don’t
want to go back to his church.”
Another parishioner said Pizzo “normally posts about supporting Trump, but this was just taking it too far.’’
Alex Leston, who attended services at St. Benedict until three years ago — when Pizzo axed funding for a
youth program he worked on — said he too was “appalled” by the meme.
The priest’s social-media politicking is particularly troubling given the area’s large Hispanic immigrant
population, according to Leston, who feels that the tone-deaf post shows how disconnected Pizzo is from his
“The parish he is supposed to be serving is mainly Latin American and Caribbean,” he said. “It’s not a good
look for him.”
A rep for the Diocese of Brooklyn said the post does not reflect the church’s stance and has been removed.
“Father Pizzo did share the meme in question on his personal Facebook page,” said diocese spokesman Vito
“He says he intended it as satire only, regrets the offense it has caused and has deleted it. This post does
not, in any way, represent the view of the church.”
On the day of President Trump’s inauguration, Pope Francis urged the new leader of the free world to uphold
“the advancement of human dignity.”
“At a time when our human family is beset by grave humanitarian crises demanding far-sighted and united
political responses, I pray that our decisions will be guided by the rich spiritual and ethical values that
have shaped the history of the American people,’’ the pontiff said.